Troels Gravesen 3WC-15 (and any of his other designs)

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by AdvanTech, Feb 3, 2021.

  1. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    In California I knew some people that would CNC wood if you provided a cut plan. I got a quote for a Frugalhorn flatpack for $200, unfinished.

    Should be able to find something similar in the Netherlands.
     
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  2. Riotvan

    Riotvan Got lost for three weeks at Delft City Hall

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    Yeah that's probably the way to go. Clamps and glue should be no problem. Might shoot him an email if he has any recommendations for nearfield ish use(180cm/6ft).
     
  3. JayC

    JayC Resident Crash Test Dummy

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    I actually asked around a while back with respect to some other Troels designs and remember that I had a conversation with Speakerland but he was not really happy about building someone elses design (or so it seemed) - he suggested that I try out his designs rather than something I havent heard before. I wasnt too happy to be immediately pushed off my idea but I considered it and planned a visit to his store but it didnt end up happening since life came in the way and I shelved all plans for a while.

    I tried again this year for the Troels 3wc15 after seeing the design pop up and then this build. Speaker & co informed me that they've shut down their shop and workplace unfortunately. I then found "deluidsprekerspecialist" who told me he was preparing an estimate for a week but never ended up sending me anything. If you get a woodworker/builder to work something out, I'd be interested to explore this space in the future.
     
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  4. Riotvan

    Riotvan Got lost for three weeks at Delft City Hall

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    That’s unfortunate but understandable that he wants to push his own designs. I used to know someone who built and sold his own speakers but i think he quit because of health issues.
    I’ll do some searching and if i find something that might be of interest to you as well share it.
     
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  5. AdvanTech

    AdvanTech Friend

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    That Eddie Current amp sounded really nice. A bit creamier than the T-2000 25th, with all the resolution, though without as much thwack.

    I wanted to hear some single-ended triode amps to see what I was ‘missing’ from a push-pull pentode design. We didn’t listen for long enough but I started to gather that, for this specific speaker design, I feel like it might be a matter of trade-offs vs. outright superiority of one type of tube amp over another. I am impressed at what Allnic achieved, here. Especially in resolving ability.
     
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  6. sphinxvc

    sphinxvc Gear Master (retired)

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    For those of you considering this speaker, know that the Be driver in Troels stock XO is a bit harsh on the ears. Advantech has spent considerable time, money and effort taming it, so I would just say be prepared to use some blasphemous EQ at the least, or tweak your own XO sauce if that's an option, or find the right complementary gear. I think burn-in has played a factor in smoothing the driver over time, because they sound much tamer now than they did at first, but then other changes have been made along the way as well.
     
  7. AdvanTech

    AdvanTech Friend

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    This warning is fair. A couple dB of attentuation, the right touch of amplification, and, honestly, if there was a grill over the drivers I’d think it was a soft dome.

    It’s like Utopia headphones where the character of upstream components are magnified. When you dial it in it’s pretty rewarding.
     
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    Last edited: Jun 8, 2021
  8. AdvanTech

    AdvanTech Friend

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    [​IMG]

    I've done a lot of A/Bing in the last few months, and thought I'd share for people curious about these amps or who would like another viewpoint to triangulate how they might sound.

    As gorgeous and romantic as the music was coming out of the Allnic, I just couldn't shake this feeling like the music is just on the other side of a veil, and that I was missing the last little bit of dynamics, clarity, and separation. I wonder if it's because my OG T-2000 was made for KT120 power tubes, but the previous owner of the amp installed KT150s and just turned the bias up. The updated T-2000 25th Anniversary apparently had a revised circuit and transformers for the bigger tubes, but I've never had the chance to hear a real 25th Anni.

    I ended up going down a Nelson Pass rabbit hole.

    [​IMG]

    I started by picking up a Pass Labs XA25 to hear what it might sound like. 25 watts into 8 ohms, 50 watts into 4, 100 watts into 2, with output transistors operating push-pull Class A.

    Holy shit, what a swing in the other direction. The clarity, separation, dynamics were astonishing. It was fast with squarish transients, it slammed, it had a hyper character to it. While I had paired my Allnic with a Gungnir A2 for the extra bite the DAC has, I switched it out for the smoother and more laidback Wavelight to try to counteract this aggressiveness.

    I'm not sure how, but the XA25 had a better grip on my 15" woofers than my Hypex NC502mp module class D amp that I'd been using for bi-amping, which supposedly supplies 500 watts at 4 ohms. There was more bass texture and punch down low than I'd ever heard (down to frequencies where it almost feels more like pushing air than making noise). I also felt like it was revealing things in recordings at all frequencies that weren't apparent enough for me to consciously notice until I heard it through this amp (which hasn't been happening as often as when I was newer to all this).

    Some prominent HiFi reviewers have said things like it being possibly the most transparent power amplifier they've ever heard and, while I understand where they're coming from, I wonder if it has more to do with being more of a '3rd order' amp than his more powerful and more expensive XA-series amplifiers, which Nelson admits are more '2nd order'. I feel like this more 3rd order-heavy design is what accentuates perceived detail and dynamics. I have a feeling this makes edges more clearly defined rather than revealing more true detail, though I'm not trying to say that it's lacking in true resolution in any way.

    I was hooked, but it was a bit much for longer listening periods. The relentless energy and speed could be fatiguing. There is this hyper-clarity about it. I feel like a speaker with lazier drivers or more complex crossovers might benefit from the XA25's voicing, but it's too much for mine.

    There was also something about the treble that seemed 'too bright' even if measurements might not show it. FYI, I feel like I'm more sensitive to treble than a lot of others.

    After reading and talking to people, I decided if I really liked the XA25 but thought it too aggressive, I could look at the XA30.8 (rated conservatively at 30 class A watts), which is somewhat more expensive and a lot larger and heavier. Being more of a '2nd order' amplifier, I was told it'd feel a touch warmer/lush/relaxed than the XA25 though it'll still feel like it's in the same XA-series family.

    So I picked one up for comparison.

    [​IMG]

    There is something about Pass XA amps where if your speakers are matched up appropriately, it seems to wake them up and come alive. Depending on the rest of the chain or your own preferences, you can think of it as either overbearing or turning musical recordings into little events. I found it gave my speakers a larger sense of scale. This character is intoxicating for the opposite reason the Allnics relaxing character was intoxicating. I believe the Wavelight helps tilt this character towards something exciting and pleasurable. I feel like the XA30.8 is the speaker amp equivalent of my ECP Audio DSHA3F Ravenswood.

    Instruments and voices are placed so precisely in the soundstage, and this amp is kind of like Schiit Multibit DACs in how they dig into all the micro stuff and illuminate it for you. You easily notice things like subtle background hisses, quiet micro-detailing, and anything else that might otherwise be hidden in recordings. I think it's nice how XA-series amps can be so resolving without being sterile and analytical.

    Treble no longer bothered me and, overall, it was a bit less hyper. After almost a week of long listening sessions, I wondered if maybe it still had a touch too much energy for my preferences or not.

    These XA amps have made me lose sleep. I don't care at all for the Aegir with these speakers. While the Aegir has world-class technicalities, it doesn't have the engagement factor that makes you want to just listen to music late into the night and was the reason I started this long and drawn-out amp shootout in the first place.

    I emailed Nelson about what I was hearing and he said if I was curious to hear even less aggressiveness, I should listen to the newest First Watt offering, the F8. So I picked one up for comparison.

    [​IMG]

    This is an update to the most successful First Watt amp, the J2. It does 25 single-ended class A watts into 8 ohms, and about half that into 4. I had an idea that it'd be laidback, but I didn't expect it to be this laidback. I can understand why so many people liked the J2. Its character is so inoffensive and pleasant that there's not much that you could pick out to hate.

    While super nice, I found I was immediately missing the drive and agility that Pass XA-series amps have. It was lush and relaxed with all types of music, which meant that it didn't get my feet tapping or make me want to dance. The word 'gooey' came to mind once or twice, though I don't think it's actually a gooey amp. It just sounds that way when you're directly comparing it to an XA30.8. Within my chain, it didn't have the PRaT or snap that I'd been enjoying so much from the XA30.8.

    The amp outputs half the wattage into 4 ohms, and my speaker's impedance profile dips to 4.6 ohms in the bass region, so the low-end response didn't even begin to resemble what I'd been hearing with XA-series amps. It's probably as bad as the Aegir in terms of bass quality. I just don't think it was the right fit for my speakers.

    It didn't take me long to realize the XA30.8 was the amp I want to keep. As it exists today, my system feels quite resolving (my Wavelight-DSHA3F-Utopia chain being the original inspiration).

    I recently swapped out my Audience UP-OCC (some companies call it single or solo crystal) speaker cables for my OFC Analysis Plus cables, and, believe it or not, it seems to have taken a bit of the edge off. Maybe in the future I'll look at inserting tubes between my Wavelight and the XA30.8, but I've been able to put in a few 12+ hour days in a row in front of them and my ears and brain have been feeling fresh at the end of the day.

    If any Friends are local and curious about hearing my setup, I'd be happy to invite them into my little room to listen. I'm curious what others might think of where it's at now. The path to this chain definitely hasn't been in a straight line, and I'd love to see how my impressions compare to others.

    [​IMG]

    Oh! This doesn't have anything to do with the amps, but I'd been wondering how to keep bass from my speakers from exciting the floor. I'd looked at all sorts of ways and price ranges to isolate them, and took a chance on these cheap little circular pads from Amazon. They worked so well! My feet don't rumble, transients/imaging tightened up, and it was $12 instead of hundreds (or thousands) of dollars. Highly recommended if you have this problem.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 1, 2021

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